Top seniors to be honored as Presidential Scholars
March 17, 2011
KALAMAZOO--Forty-five students will be recognized as Western Michigan University's top seniors for 2011 during the 31st annual Presidential Scholars Convocation starting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 24, on campus in the Fetzer Center.
Each year, faculty members from across the University select the most outstanding senior in their various academic schools, departments and programs to represent their units as a WMU Presidential Scholar.
The designation is the highest academic honor that WMU can bestow on its undergraduates. Selection is based on the students' general academic excellence, academic and/or artistic excellence in their majors, and intellectual and/or artistic promise.
The 2011 Presidential Scholars Convocation, which is by invitation only, will include a program at 7 p.m. featuring a keynote address by Dr. John M. Dunn, president of WMU. Also making remarks will be Dr. Peter W. Krawutschke, president of the WMU Faculty Senate, and Aaron Booth, president of the Western Student Association.
After each of this year's scholars are recognized and awarded certificates, a dessert buffet reception will be held while the scholars have their pictures taken with Dunn and Krawutschke.
This year's Presidential Scholars include several nontraditional students. Among them are a mother of three who was downsized and is pursuing a new career in teaching after working 20 years in pharmaceutical research and development, a formerly homeless father who is double majoring in mathematics and philosophy after battling poverty and chronic illness while raising his children, and a decorated Marine Corps sergeant and Iraq War veteran who is preparing to become a lawyer so he can further veterans' advocacy issues and promote restorative justice initiatives.
Other scholars to be honored include a musician who is one of the nation's most accomplished young trombonists; an aeronautical engineer who has developed software that increased the usability of an optimization engine used by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center; an AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps member who earned both the Congressional Award for youth service and Presidential Volunteer Service Award; a computer scientist who helped develop and design a distributed algorithm and has presented this research at the Argonne National Laboratory; and a national award-winning dancer and choreographer who recently performed in the "Women in Dance" series concert at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York.
The Presidential Scholars Convocation is sponsored by WMU's Faculty Senate and Office of the President. For more information, contact Janice Anderson, convocation committee chair and Faculty Senate administrator, at (269) 387-3310, or Elena Gaudio, committee member and executive secretary to WMU's president, at (269) 387-2351.
2011 Presidential Scholars
Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org